Over the last thirty years, Hafiz al-Asad has striven to make his country indispensable to any Middle East settlement. Netanyahu's victory, however, and a hardening of U.S. sentiment toward Syria, are threatening to marginalize him. While analyzing Netanyahu's thinking on Syria and Syria's possible responses, the article reviews Asad's years in power and the essential unity of his career. It traces his evolution from the quest for "strategic parity" to the quest for "comprehensive peace," showing how both grew out of the same root: Asad's central aim of "containing" Israel.

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